NCS Response to Pulitzer Board Dissolving Editorial Cartooning Division
June 10, 2022
Since 1946, the National Cartoonists Society has existed to advance the ideals and standards of professional cartooning in its many forms. To this end, the NCS board of directors hopes you will consider the following request.
As an organization representing cartoonists, we are deeply concerned about the decision to retire the “Editorial Cartooning” category for the Pulitzer prizes. We appreciate that the Pulitzers are expanding the types of cartooning and art that are award-worthy. We have done the same with our own awards. However, just as “News Photography” and “Feature Photography” are different, “Illustrated Reporting and Commentary” and “Editorial Cartooning” are two distinct genres of work and should be separate categories.
We ask that the Pulitzer Board officially retain “Editorial Cartooning” as its own category in addition to recognizing the category of “Illustrated Reporting and Commentary.”
The skillset of each form of cartooning is distinct: illustrated stories select a topic and are produced over an extended period of time, requiring a level of cohesion, research, and development unique to this craft.
Editorial cartooning demands an immediate interpretation and reaction to events in real-time, necessitating an ongoing awareness of complex and often unpredictable contexts. At a time when news cycles are smaller and smaller, this skill has become even more crucial.
Combining editorial cartooning and illustrated reportage together into one category does a disservice to both genres. To us, the situation is like having a sprinter and a long-distance runner competing for a single gold medal because they’re both track and field athletes.
We do not want to undermine the importance and skill of graphic reporting, comics journalism, or long-form reportage, nor take anything away from that category’s deserving winners and nominees. Additionally, we are not suggesting that you remove the category of “Illustrated Reporting and Commentary”; We ask that a category for “Illustrated Reporting and Commentary” exists alongside a separate category for “Editorial Cartooning.” We believe both skillsets deserve to be recognized.
The NCS urges the Pulitzer board to adopt this change or consider opening the discussion with us to explore further.
The Board of Directors
National Cartoonists Society (Est 1946)
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